Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Tuesday offered updated COVID vaccine data supporting efficacy in children ages 6 months to 4 years.
The PFE companies,
that updated analysis of 34 cases occurring at least seven days after a three-dose regimen showed a vaccine efficacy of 73.2% among children in that age group. Vaccine efficacy was consistently above 70% in both children 6 months to 23 months and children 2 to 4 years of age.
Sequencing of the cases confirmed that the majority were caused by omicron BA.2, suggesting broader protection across variants.
The US Food and Drug Administration licensed the vaccine for very young children on June 17 and it is currently under review by the European regulator.
“While these results confirm that three 3 [milligram] doses of our COVID-19 vaccine provide young children with a high level of protection at a time when the Omicron BA.2 strain was highly prevalent with a favorable safety profile, we are also developing an Omicron BA.4/BA.5 adapted bivalent vaccine in this age group to address these sublineages,” said Uğur Şahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
The news comes a day after Pfizer and BioNTech said they had formally completed an application asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clear their experimental bivalent COVID-19 booster for people older than 12 years.
The new shot equally targets the original strain of the virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 strains, the latter of which is now the dominant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the US.
The news comes as known COVID cases in the US continue to decline, though the true count is likely to be higher given the number of people testing at home, where data is not collected.
Cases are rising in Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Maine. They are falling in all other states.
The daily average of new cases stood at 92,602 this Monday, according to a New York Times tracker, down 16% from two weeks ago to the lowest level seen since mid-May. The daily average of hospitalizations fell 8% to 39,963, while the daily average of deaths fell 5% to 459.
Other news about COVID-19 that you should know:
• A study by Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing found that the incubation period for COVID has shortened with each new variant. The study was published in JAMA Network Open magazine on Monday. The researchers analyzed data from 141 studies and found that the incubation period decreased from an average of five days with the alpha strain to 3.43 days with omicron, which is now dominant worldwide. “The findings of this study suggest that SARS-CoV-2 has continuously evolved and mutated during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing variants with different enhanced transmission and virulence,” the authors wrote. “Identifying the incubation period of different variants is a key factor in determining the isolation period.”
• A West Virginia hospital will receive $313,700 in pandemic relief funds through the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, Associated Press reported. Potomac Valley Hospital in Mineral County received the funds to help purchase new medical equipment and reimburse labor expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, said in a news release Monday. that represents the state.
• Protesters against the mandate are again converging on the New Zealand parliament, but there was no repeat of the occupation of six months ago in which protesters camped out on the parliament grounds for more than three weeks. AP reported separately. Some 2,000 protesters upset with the government’s response to the pandemic gathered on Tuesday but said they had no intention of staying. The earlier protest created significant unrest in the capital and ended in chaos as retreating protesters set fire to tents and threw stones at police.
• Zoom Video Communications Inc.ZM,
an early pandemic success story, is showing momentum with some newer business areas, but shares of the teleconferencing company were falling in early trading on Tuesday after the company indicated challenges in its core business, MarketWatch’s Emily Bary reported. While Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg described “strong growth” in the company’s enterprise business, she also noted pressure related to the strong US dollar and subscription growth in Zoom’s online channel, which it is made up of non-interacting customers. with Zoom’s direct sales team or sales partners. “We have implemented initiatives focused on generating new online subscriptions, which showed promise early on, but were not enough to overcome the macro dynamics in the quarter,” she said on the company’s earnings call Monday afternoon.
This is what the numbers say
The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 597.1 million on Tuesday, while the death toll topped 6.45 million. according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States leads the world with 93.6 million cases and 1,040,970 deaths.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tracker shows that 223.7 million people living in the US are fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 67.4% of the total population. But only 108.2 million have received a first booster, equivalent to 48.4% of the vaccinated population.
Only 21.4 million of those aged 50 and over who are eligible for a second booster have had one, which is equivalent to 33.2% of those who received a first booster.